Money & Politics Column

Are former lawmakers cashing in?

Jay Heck of Common Cause in Wisconsin decries the “revolving door” between lawmaking and lobbying: “It feeds a public perception that legislators, at least some of them, are legislators so they can cash in on the contacts they make.”

Recusal an issue in high court race

Marquette University law professor Ed Fallone, Roggensack’s challenger in the April 2 election, is seeking to make recusal an issue in this campaign. He says Roggensack “bears a large part of the responsibility for pushing through” a 2010 change in court rules stating that mere receipt of campaign contributions or endorsements can never in itself require recusal.

Wanted: A wiser prison policy

The group contends that alternatives like day reporting centers, electronic monitoring and treatment courts for people with substance abuse and mental health problems have been proven to be not only cheaper but more effective. It’s asking the Legislature to add $75 million for such programs to the state’s upcoming two-year budget.

Contract pick drives emotion Skyward

Skyward has lodged a formal protest over the state’s decision to pick a Minnesota company for a new statewide student information system, alleging “numerous irregularities” during the selection process, including overlooked costs and calculation errors.

High court race will likely get costly

Roggensack’s foes, as well as her supporters, will likely respond to her perceived vulnerability by digging deep into their coffers. All signs point to another jaw-dropping spend-fest.

Tracking pro-mining cash gets dicey

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reported that mining bill proponents have given more than $15 million since 2010 to Scott Walker, who was elected governor that year, and to current members of the state Legislature. Meanwhile, only about $25,000 has flowed from environmental groups registered against the bill.

Court ruling blamed for record spending

The 2012 presidential and congressional elections, said Lisa Graves, was “the most expensive election in U.S. history. In fact, it was the most expensive election in the history of the world.”

Contract lobbying still ‘under the radar’

In Wisconsin, any paid representative of an interest group who works to influence state law or policy must register with the state Government Accountability Board and file twice-yearly reports. But if a person works to help an interest group secure a state government contract has no registration or reporting requirement.

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